Saturday, June 21, 2014

Jazz Fest 2014, Day 1: Nicole reviews Lorraine Klaasen

Posted By on Sat, Jun 21, 2014 at 4:00 AM

click to enlarge Lorraine Klaasen at the Xerox Auditorium. - PHOTO BY MARK CHAMBERLIN
  • Lorraine Klaasen at the Xerox Auditorium.

From the moment Lorraine Klaasen opened her mouth, the singer brought vibrancy, in every sense of the word, to the otherwise bleak Xerox Auditorium space. Decked out in exciting colors and filling the stuffy hall with full-bodied gritty vocals, Klaasen was riffing and growling with each note. It was clear she was there to have a good time.

And the audience responded well -- she had people dancing in the aisles. Although most of us were confined to seats, you'd have been hard pressed to find a body that wasn't moving in some way. Still, Klaasen's performance style might have been better served in a more intimate, casual venue. Her simple, joyful approach to singing could be perfect for a café or bar setting.

Klaasen's distinct musical style is culturally charged and you can hear the influence of her South African heritage in every note. None of it is manufactured -- she's as authentic as it gets. The personal nature of her performance was particularly apparent in a song titled "Lorraine," a letter written to Klaasen from her mother, set to music.

Above all else, it was Klaasen's storytelling ability that really made her a show-stopping performer. Although most of the songs she performed weren't in English, I could still understand every word. Her body language and facial expressions were loud and clear, emotion emanating through every pore.

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